RINK CHAT: UWRF's Joe Cranston
Nate Woelfel | NCHA Insider
Nate Woelfel: What are some of your thoughts on achieving the milestone of 200 career wins?
Joe Cranston: (Laughing)” It’s a lot of wins. It’s neat because I’ve been the only coach here. So when you look at the 200 wins, it’s just kind of neat that it’s 200 wins for the whole program and for the history of UWRF women’s hockey. There’s a lot of people who have contributed a lot to make that happen.”
NW: How have you seen your program progress since day one?
JC: ” Our first year, we won three games. I was hired and didn’t really have recruits and kind of took over the club team. From that first recruiting class, we had some really good players back then. 2003 was our first Final Four team, but just the last five years I think we’ve gotten better every year.”
NW: What have you seen in your current team that has helped them get off to a fast start?
JC: “ I think we have a lot of players this year who can go out on the ice and make that special play. It just seems like last year, we would really have to grind and grind and work and work to get those goals whereas they are coming just a little bit easier this year.”
NW: When you are looking at potential recruits, how important is “hockey I.Q.?”
JC: “It’s huge. You can be fast, physical and shoot the puck, and have all the skills, but if you don’t understand the game and you don’t think, then it just doesn’t work with the rhythm of the game the way we play it. One of the reasons we recruit mostly kids from this area is so we can go watch them four, five or six times so we know it’s just not a skill level we’re looking at.”
NW: Throughout your tenure, what are your most memorable moments?
JC: ” Probably the biggest was beating St. Thomas 5-1 in the first round of the NCAA tournament at home in ’03. That was our first win in an NCAA game and our first win to get us to a Frozen Four. The second biggest would be beating Gustavus I believe three years ago, when they were ranked one in the country, down there in a first round, NCAA game to get to the Frozen Four. Those are, by far, the two biggest.”
NW: What is your favorite part about being a college hockey coach?
JC: ” I just like going to the rink every day. Being with young people, their whole lives are ahead of them and just the energy they bring. Having a chance to make a difference in somebodies life, that’s always the biggest reason I would coach youth, or high school, or college.”
NW: How long do you hope to be able to continue coaching?
JC: “My philosophy is: as long as I think I am doing a good job and I enjoy it and I want to go to the rink every day, …then I’ll just keep going. I’m enjoying it a lot now and have a lot of energy so I don’t see myself stepping down for quite a while.”